Work Perks - bonding in Mayrhofen & Zell am See
As it happens office work in the ski industry isn’t always about preventing your jealousy from rearing its ugly head when booking people on your dream holidays, nor is it about a slowly expanding waistline due to the snacks piled up on the desk beside you (well, this one rings true). Sometimes, we get to travel too, and it often involves exploring new destinations to the company portfolio. Call us professional guinea pigs, if you will. Enter Mayrhofen, Austria.
This week it was my turn, so off I jolly well skipped to where the hills are alive with the sound of music and also the sound of nails being smacked into a chunk of wood. Or so I hoped. The nails never surfaced - I don’t think it’s nail season to be fair. Arriving in Innsbruck we, Steph, team leader James and I, trundled along to Mayrhofen - the new addition to the flexiski smorgasbord, famed by friends as an après mecca and the infamous Harakiri death sword run - only the survivors make it out the bottom.
However, being July the runs were closed unless you wanted to hike it and that wasn’t top of the agenda… the gorgeous spa area at the Elisabeth Hotel, however, was right at the top of the pile. Having been built up to unattainable heights over the last week in the office as this heavenly relaxation hub, where not dissimilarly to the Japanese Onsen you come out 10 years younger with the suppleness of a slinky and the complexion of a rosy-cheeked cherub. It didn’t disappoint, the pool area instantly relaxed you, the steam and sauna cleansed you and then just as you made your way to Shakira on a beach at the top of a South American mountain you have to get naked to enter the alluring ‘sauna world’. BAM - work colleagues naked together in a hot and steamy sauna. Steph wasn’t keen which made for a nude session in the sauna with the team leader, as awkward as the experience was I think we came out stronger. This new strength was further put to the test with the twin room having just a double bed - thankfully there wasn’t a nude policy here too. So commenced a snore off, irregular wet rumbles vs. the pneumatic fog horn. The final result was an alternative team building exercise based on awkward proximity and trying to obtain the deepest sleep.
Zell am See was our second and final stop, staying at the wonderful family run Hotel Tirolerhof, a highlight of which was the brand new restaurant serving some luscious Ossobucco, so tender you could spread it on toast. The spa was terrific, some back beating jets in the pool and spotting the speedo tan in the sauna was an amusing if not slightly disturbing past time. The bar area was full of old school charm and even the keyboard playing hero was entertaining, busting out the pre-set tunes we all loved during music class in year 10 - sadly he never hit DJ. And we’d been given a suite! Though the delight didn’t last forever, being knocked off cloud 9 by the four poster bed with heart shaped duvets and an engagement brochure on the bedside. Another night of awkward proximity and ear-splitting snores, but funny none-the-less.
In truth the work trip was going marvellously, as a team, we were getting closer and having a right laugh. Lake Zell was spectacular, unfortunately, no-one was keen on joining me for a dip but we did go up the glacier and partook in a spot of sledding. Marching through the ice caves at such a pace I thought Steph may well keel over at one point. There was some respite pretending to be interested in cave crystals whilst secretly trying to lower our heart rates below bursting point. The walks remanence was taken at a much more leisurely pace.
It was all building to a crescendo for the last night, the great hurrah. We’d enjoyed the spa after a taxing day glacier climbing and town exploring. A beer at the bar whilst writing my blog seemed a very alluring prospect. However it had slipped my mind that I had the only key - leaving James locked out the room wearing nothing but a towel, suddenly the skuddy spa doesn’t seem such a good idea and all our bonding was shattered with me having left an irate nude man in the corridor. But nothing a few beers and a cheeky schnapps or two couldn’t sort out, shame the last breakfast couldn’t quite clear our heads for the journey home.
Book your ski holiday to Mayrhofen or Zell am See - enquire now or give us a call on 020 8939 0862